Jasmine Hartin is expected to be charged Monday for the killing of Henry Jemmott, a high-ranking police official in Belize. The daughter-in-law of a British billionaire is being held by local Belize officials as investigators question the motive.
Hartin, originally from the United States, moved to Belize with her husband, Andrew Ashcroft, the son of a powerful businessman and conservative politician. Now Jasmine Hartin faces charges after a suspicious outing with a high-ranking law enforcement official.
Marie Jemmott Tzul, the 55-year-old sister of the fallen victim, told The Daily Mail that she expects Hartin to be officially charged with her brother’s death come Monday. “I got a call,” she admitted. “I was informed that she will be charged tomorrow, but they did not say what she was going to be charged with.”
Hartin is the prime suspect in the death of Superintendent Henry Jemmott. The two were seen exiting a Belize bar the night of his murder, and security footage revealed the pair fraternizing on a pier in San Pedro just before a single shot rang out. Police have not been able to identify what happened in the moments leading up to the shooting, and have yet to rule out murder, suicide, or accidental discharge as the cause of the death.
It was clear that Jasmine Hartin had been drinking, as was Jemmott. When police arrived, the police officer was floating in the water with a bullet wound near his right ear. His service weapon was found nearby and Hartin had blood splattered on her skin and clothes. The billionaire’s daughter-in-law was taken into custody, but was reportedly uncooperative with authorities until her attorney arrived.
One news report, which aired in Belize, claimed that Hartin would be charged with manslaughter. Though it is unconfirmed, the report suggested that Hartin told authorities that the gun accidentally went off as she was handing the Glock handgun back to Jemmott.
According to the local news outlet, Hartin was delivering a message to Jemmott just before the “accident.” A police officer also claimed that after Jemmott was shot, he fell on top of Jasmine Hartin, who then pushed him into the water.
Tzul admitted that she hadn’t “seen the news because I’m so overwhelmed and devastated by my brother’s death.” She continued, saying that “I can’t speculate over whether they will bail her or she will stay in prison because I don’t know the charge yet.”
Many Belize officials are worried that the integrity of the investigation will be compromised due to Hartin’s connection to the Ashcroft family. With heavy investments into Belize’s financial sphere, the Ashcroft’s hold a lot of political power in the small country. However, Police Commissioner Chester Williams was adamant in his defense of the investigation’s integrity.
Williams said that “someone is responsible for his death,” and “we owe it to him to ensure that we investigate properly and bring that person or those persons to justice. I can emphatically state that I have not received any calls from anybody above me directing that we deal with the matter in one way or the other.”
Jemmott’s sister told The Daily Mail what she would say to Jasmine if given the chance. “Give closure to the family,” Tzul said. “Tell us what happened. We want to know for the benefit of our family. He was my only brother.”
According to Tzul, Jemmott had five children and a partner of 14 years. Now, “every time I look at my nieces and my nephews I break down and cry,” Tzul explained. “Please tell us what happened.”
Police are still unsure whether Jasmine played any part in Jemmott’s death. Some believe the official could have taken his own life. The superintendent had just recently been posted in Belize City and had requested time off to deal with personal matters. What those personal matters were is still unknown, but Tzul and the rest of Jemmott’s family insist he didn’t take his own life.
“My brother would never ever kill himself,” Cherry Jemmott, Henry’s other sister said. “He had his plans. In September he was to be promoted to senior superintendent and he was to be transferred to another unit. My brother is a very top cop with a big dream.”
She continued, explaining that “he had a gunshot behind his ear like an assassination. He is so skillful after 24 years [as an officer], he would never have left his guard down. He was a top cop. I don’t know how he let down his guard to be shot with his own gun.”
Another family member, Renisha Martinez wrote on Facebook that Henry Jemmott did not commit suicide. “He was murdered and we need justice,” Jemmott’s niece wrote. “That man loved his job so much that he wouldn’t even take days off!”
“First and foremost my Uncle is a dedicated man when it comes to his job,” she continued. “He is a caring and supporting dad, uncle, and friend. He loved being out and working hard. He believed that hard work came with a lot of discipline.”
Police are still investigating a possible motive and whether Hartin was responsible for Jemmott’s death. No charges have officially been placed on Jasmine Hartin, despite Tzul’s tip. Hartin was visited in jail by Belize’s former attorney general, who is a good friend of her father-in-law.